Digital Icons – A vlog series
Tricks of the trade to grow and nurture your business
No-code development has been getting much attention lately. Can you tell us a brief insight into what this innovation is all about?
No-code is just the latest iteration of how we tell computers what to do. Software development started with binary (0s and 1s) because electricity only has two states: off and on. But it’s really inefficient to write binary because you have to write a lot of it for even a very simple command. So over time people built abstractions on top of binary – first assembly languages (i.e. X86), then programming languages (i.e. Java), then frameworks (i.e. Ruby on Rails), and now no-code tools. The exciting thing about no-code is that it’s usable by a much larger group of people than the coders of the world. But, at the end of the day, even software built without code gets turned into the same 0s and 1s under the hood.
There are issues of vendor lockin, IP control, ability to migrate as an independent application: How are you handling these?
• Their policy is that the user who builds the application owns all of its IP and data
• The developer can export all of their data at any point, either through an API or CSV download
• If they want to build an independent application they can always do that and plug into the Bubble API to have the two applications talk to each other
Many No-Code platforms generate half baked solutions, and eventually, the companies have to shift out. How is your solution different?
This works exactly the same way with no-code as it works with code. The quality of the application depends on the quality of the development process. We believe our approach is high-quality and results in great applications. But there are certainly a lot of poorly built software applications out there, developed with and without code.
How does No-code development work?
The way it works is that a programmer creates an application not by writing code but by doing things that are more visual. So, instead of writing code that describes a button that should be on the screen, they just drag and drop a button onto the screen. And instead of writing code that specifies what should happen when you click on that button, they make human-readable logical statements.
How will No-code development change the e-commerce landscape?
In many ways it already has. Shopify hosts hundreds of thousands of online stores and Shopify is a no-code tool. Someone who wants to start an online store no longer has to worry about all the things that Amazon had to worry about – spinning up servers, hiring expensive engineers, etc. However, Shopify has technical constraints and many businesses need functionality that falls outside of those constraints. We are more excited about tools like Bubble.io, which allow you to build basically any functionality that you need without using code, which will result in lots of e-commerce experiences that deviate from the traditional model.
No-code development is going to change the IT space in e-commerce? Does it spell an end for the tech-heads?
I predict the opposite – a lot more tech-heads, along with a re-definition of what a tech head is. That person no longer needs to be a genius who started coding at 5 years old but instead an analytical generalist who uses no-code tools to build stuff.
From the total cost of ownership point of view, some of the nocode solutions ends up being more expensive that the custom development, how are you handling it?
We haven’t really seen this play out. From our experience, no-code solutions end up 5x+ cheaper than having developers build from scratch.
What kind of applications can be created using No-code development? Are they going to be up to par with what previously exists?
Even at this point, most kinds of web applications (marketplaces, e-commerce tools, sales tools, etc) can be built without code. And, when there is a technical limitation, the no-code web app can be supplemented with code to overcome that limitation. However, native mobile development is not quite there yet when it comes to no-code. You can’t yet build an application like Whatsapp or Uber and have it be comparable to the coded version. I expect this limitation to go away within the next few years.
How can businesses revamp the online marketplace using No-code development?
We predict that, as no-code development makes creating software drastically faster and cheaper, we will see a lot more niche tech-enabled businesses pop up. In the past, it didn’t make financial sense to build a tech product that serves a small audience because of how expensive it was (thus the VC model). But with no-code it will be very possible to have a highly profitable online business that serves 1,000 customers. Which will result in an explosion of these types of businesses that are able to serve their customers in a much more tailored way.